The adaptive and flexible Air Force for the future.
Remarks to the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, Oct. 11, 2005
Thanks for the opportunity to spend some time with you this afternoon. I'm going to share a few thoughts I've got and talk you through some of the things that are on my plate and how I see some things and some opportunities in the future. And then, I am really excited about sharing some thoughts with you, so I look forward to some questions and comments.
Let me talk a little bit about your Air Force. Let me talk a little bit about what I believe is the asymmetric advantage of this country which is air and space power. And let me talk a little bit about some of the challenges that I see, and I'll categorize them for you in some major groupings.
But let me first tell you, your Air Force, in my opinion, is the best Air Force that the world has ever seen. It's the most capable Air Force; it's the most reaching Air Force--the global reach, the ability to range across the surface of the earth with global mobility and to enable a joint fight anywhere on the surface of the planet.
And we also, in my opinion, have the best folks any air force has ever had. As I look out in the audience I see some of my brothers from other air forces and I welcome the coalition partnership and I welcome the ability to share things with you, but I'm a little parochial in thinking that Airmen in the American Air Force are the best we've ever had. They're truly the most creative, the most adaptive, the most flexible and they're the most lethal of any Airman that's ever worn this uniform.
And if you think about this, from the time the first wing deployed in August of 1990 into Dhahran and the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, your Air Force has been at war. Hostilities began in Operation Desert Storm in January 1991 and we have been in solid straight combat ever since.
Through that period of time, through Northern No-Fly Zones, through Southern No-Fly Zones, through Bosnia, through Kosovo, through Afghanistan, through Iraq, through Horn of Africa to where we are now--solid, straight combat.
With that come some interesting observations. This is the most combat experienced American Air Force we've had since the end of World War II. The percentage of people in combat, the percentage of people that have been shot at, the percentage of people that have returned fire, the percentage of people that have lived on expeditionary airfields, the percentage of people that have operated on expeditionary airfields under attack from ballistic missiles. All of those operational readiness evaluations and operational readiness inspections that we used to have in the bad old days that we complained about ad nauseam about having to conduct business in MOPP 4 Condition Black, nearly goes out the window when you've had the 13th missile hit your airfield and you're generating sorties and loading bombs.
So this Air Force is an experienced Air Force. This Air Force knows how to conduct air and space operations. And this is an Air Force populated by some of the finest people to walk the earth or fly in the atmosphere or conduct business in space.
Let me start my comments by saying that our mission in the United States Air Force is to fly and fight. It's as simple as that. Whether it's flying a spacecraft out in geosynchronous orbit, whether it's flying a UAV on the other side of the earth, whether it's flying an F-15E, a B-1, a B-2, or whether it's enabling those that do, our mission is to fly and fight. And this country is at war. We are at war with a very adaptive, very lethal opponent--a very well resourced opponent and a very lethal opponent in the way that operations are being conducted.
And it's my sense that we will be in a global war on terrorism for our lifetime. This is a long war. It will ebb and flow. We will deal with this on various levels. We will deal with as a joint team. We will deal with this as a coalition team, as international partners. And we will deal with this as an interagency team, and there are some interesting opportunities to do better within the interagency. But nonetheless, we are truly a country at war. Our republic is at risk. And there's no better time to be wearing this uniform than right now.
I'm extremely proud of the United States Air Force and I am equally proud of the joint team represented by Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Merchant Marines.
So where do I see us going in the future? Well let me start with a little bit of a snapshot of the past. I had a chance last week to go out to Hickam (Air Force Base, Hawaii) and spend some time with General Paul Hester (Commander, Pacific Air Forces) and a few people out there. When you walk around the Headquarters of Pacific Air Forces and see the bullet holes in the side of the Headquarters wall, and get an idea about what the immensity of the task is, even today, in the Pacific, you know that this business of air and space power is about range, is about persistence, it's about access, it's about payload, it's about lethality, it's about survivability, and some things haven't changed. Whether it's a B-17 in 1942 or a B-24 in 1943 or a B-2 or an F/A-22 or a Joint Strike Fighter or an F-15E or a C-17 or a KC-135 or a KC-10, it's all about reach and it's all about strike and it's all about ISR--intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
So today when we survey the scone that we're operating in, we're conducting combatant operations in Afghanistan and over the last two or three days we've delivered ordnance off of AC-130s, F-16s, A-10s. Bombers are overhead with a variety of munitions loads depending on fuse settings and requirements. In Iraq we're spinning up the political progress in the country, providing support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance as well as strike, delivering weapons off of F16s, off of F-18s, off of Marine Harriers while providing consistent ISR over the top of the theater. And we're conducting Operation Noble Eagle over the top of this country with, on any given day, 45 to 60 fighters, two or three AWACS, a dozen tankers, plus a command and control network to provide protection, sovereignty and defense over the top of this country. So you have Operation Enduring Freedom ongoing, Operation Iraqi Freedom ongoing, Operation Noble Eagle ongoing, and oh by the way, a bit of an opportunity to serve the American people with relief efforts for Katrina and Rita, and now opportunities to partner with our Pakistan friends to do humanitarian relief efforts for the tragic earthquake in northern Pakistan.
Now who would have thought prior to Sept. 11 that the United States and its coalition partners would be in this business at this point in time? Who would have predicted attacks on New York and Washington and then follow-on attacks in Bali and London and Madrid, and Riyadh, Islamabad--the list goes on.
What does an air force do in today's world? What does an air and space power do and what are the contributions to the joint team?
Let's start with the core competencies of an air and space force. In my view those are in three portfolios--global strike, global mobility, and global ISR. I'll come back to those in a minute when we talk about recapitalization challenges.
That's what an Air Force does for the joint team, that's what an Air Force does for our combatant commanders, that's what an Air Force does in a theater, and it does it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it does it at any range and within any threat event. So my priorities are to look at ways to continually improve the joint warfight.
First and foremost, again we're a nation at war. So, to continue to improve the joint warfight and to continue to focus on the notions of being truly interdependent really matter to me.
They matter to me as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, they matter to me as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they matter to me as a prior Combined Force Air Component Commander, and they matter to me as a citizen because I believe there are ways to continually improve in a coalition setting and in a joint setting. Because, over time, if you look at how we have evolved from Orville and Wilbur to where we are now, we have truly moved through areas of just staying out of each other's way, or deconflicting activities, and some of the nightmares of Southeast Asia whether we formalize the deconfiiction with route packages.
There's no central focus on the striking of the primary targets of an opponent as much as it was just trying to stay out of each other's way. There's no central planning with that, there's no central focus, there's no central metric. That takes you nowhere other than, again, just staying out of each other's way.
Up until Desert Shield/Desert Storm we made an art form out of deconflicting. In the Desert Shield/Desert Storm timeframe and in the No-Fly Zone timeframe we've moved into the world that I believe was integration. So we began to integrate a bit and we began to look at ways not to just stay out of each other's way but to actually integrate. We focused on a single airman being the command and control leg and having command oversight of all air activities in the theater. This moved the ball 99 yards.
And we worked very hard on integration. But I would offer to you now we're in a different world. We're in a different world because things move pretty quickly. We're in a different world because we live in a coalition setting and we're fighting on a global scale. I would offer to you as a product of Goldwater/Nichols (Act of 19xx) we are now into a world of being truly interdependent.
So you move from just deconflicting to integrating and I would offer now we're in a world of interdependence. That takes us to some interesting decisions on procurement of hardware. It takes us to some interesting decisions on command and control.
By being interdependent, each of the components--maritime, land, special operations and air--can orchestrate activities much more rapidly and across all spectrums. If we just take Afghanistan, for example, think about from the very beginning of the Afghanistan endeavor when we had Air Force NCOs on the back of a horse with a laptop hooked to the Combined Air Operations Center, hooked to B-52s and B-1s over Mazar-e-Sharif bringing 2,000-pound JDAMS (joint direct attack munition) to bear against opponents who believed in their heart of hearts that we would fight them as the Russians did. Imagine the surprise of being a Taliban commander when only a handful of Northern Alliance actors; combatants, players with a handful of American Special Operations NCOs and junior officers were able to devastate large formations from aircraft unseen or unheard, through a command and control system that links at the speed of light from the back of a horse to a CAOC to a bomber to the detonation of the target.
Now when I talk about our people being the most adaptive and flexible, I don't think anywhere of any of the schools that I've attended to include National War College, which I was fortunate enough to stay and be a faculty member to teach this very thing, or at Air Command and Staff College, or Squadron Officers School or the weapons schools of both the Navy and the Air Force that I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend, nowhere in there did it talk about hooking a guy on a horseback with a laptop to a B-52 or a B-1 over the top of northern Afghanistan to strike Taliban and al-Qaida formations without infantry to bear on the problem. This was on the fly, adaptive thinking. Very creative thinking by special operations troops, by Airmen, by Soldiers, by Marines, involved in a very fast-moving, very lethal environment in northern Afghanistan.
That's how we started this thing, and to think how far we've come with this creativity, with field teams being interdependent with Army Special Forces or with some of the Special Operations Command players, with Coalition Special Operations, whether it is an Airman or whether it is a Soldier or a Sailor or a Marine--imperceptible difference. To me, that's interdependence. When a Special Forces A Team or a field team can call on a B-52 or a B-1 at 38,000 to 41,000 feet with 2,000-pound class weapons and in real time discuss notions of fusing and blast effect and be able to deliver those, what an amazing capability. And what a demonstration of air power and what that brings to a modern fight.
And remember, the miss distance on these JDAMs, if you think back to some of the history--500-pounders carried aboard a B-17 or a B-24, how many aircraft it took to strike a single target. Think about now the miss distance on this 2,000-pound class JDAM is inside the length of the weapon. A 2,000-pound class munition, whether you use 60 millisecond delay, a 20 second delay, surface bursted or air bursted, is a big firecracker, and if I can get it within five or six or seven or eight feet, it's going to do some good work.
Remember also we'd just dropped 80 500-pound JDAMs, GPS-guided weapons off of a B-2 against 80 separate targets. Eighty separate targets, one airplane, 500-pound class weapon. Miss distance on those 500-pound weapons was about four feet. Now a 500-pounder's got less blast effect than a 2,000-pounder, but if I can get it within four feet it might not matter if you're within that four feet.
So how then do we take this into the future? How then do we continue to be interdependent in a joint team? How do we leverage each other's capabilities? How do we compensate for each other's limitations? How do we make this faster? How do we make this more lethal? How do we become even more interdependent with each other? If in fact the budget is not going to grow exponentially, and if in fact we're going to be in a long war, and if in fact we will be in this together, then it appears to me to make perfect sense to continue to partner even in a more aggressive sense with the land component, maritime component, and special ops component activities because we've got lots and lots of data that shows us that this is the right way to do it.
So the first thing I wake up in the middle of the night and worry about is we're at war and can we do this better? Can we continue to improve and can we serve the republic better and can we serve the coalition better and can we fight this more aggressively, and is there a set of improvements that we can capitalize on real time and as we look go the future?
The second thing when I wake up at night is how do we take care of our people? How do we ensure that the most treasured entity that a service chief has is the men and women that wear the uniform? Because we are at war and because our people are at risk and because the American people and our coalition partners have provided young men and women to wear this uniform, how then do we in every way ensure that we have this right, that we've prepared them properly, that we have the right percentages, that we have the right diversity. Do we have the right mix? If not, how can we move toward that mix? Do we have the right specialty codes? If we are set with AFSCs that are relics of the Cold War why should we not jettison those and move into things that matter?
Let me give you a couple of examples, intelligence. Intel today is an incredible, incredible force multiplier because with good intel almost all things are possible. With bad intel almost nothing's possible. So how then do we teach and mentor and grow and mature and expose our folks and develop an intel cadre that is something beyond where we've been in the past?
I believe we don't have enough intel players in the United States Air Force, and by that I mean civilian, by that I mean active, NCOs, officers, Guard and Reserve. And in everything, when I use the term Air Force I'm using the term for civilians, Reserve, Guard and active because I believe the Air Force is just that. We're not separate tribes, we're one Air Force.
In this world of intel, once we get the person who wants to be an intel NCO or an intel officer, have we set the conditions with the right skill sets? Have we learned from the lessons of the past to be able to look at regional expertise, language expertise, operational technical expertise, an awareness of what's going on around him, relationships developed across the joint boundaries and through the interagency boundaries, and have we bounced these folks back and forth from operational billets to staff billets to the joint world to be able to prepare them to be lieutenant colonels and colonels or master sergeants or senior master sergeants in a Combined Air Operations Center in a fight working real time time-sensitive targeting issues or real-time force planning issues?
I believe we can do better at this. I believe we can begin to focus on regional skills as well as operational skills. I believe we can do better in our languages and I believe we can do better on experiences. I believe we can do better inside the interagency and in the joint world to grow intel officers that are even more flexible and adaptive in this long war, this global war on terrorism. That's one of the challenges that I'm working real time to make that happen.
I'll give you a little vignette. Having been blessed to be the commander during Afghanistan and the first parts of Iraq, in the middle of the night, or in the middle of the day, when you get a periodic update and the operations folks and the intel folks and the liaison elements from the BCD (Battlefield Coordination Detachment) in the Army and the MARLO (Marine air liaison officer) from the Marines, the NAO (Navy aviation observer) from the Navy and the SOLs (special operations liaison) from the Special Ops elements to come in to talk to the CFACC, I always found it interesting when the intel folks would come in and they would want to spend some time telling me what they knew. Over time I used that as a bit of a teaching lesson and said it's interesting to know what you know, but it's much more interesting for you to know what you don't know. What you don't know is where your opponent lives. What you know is where we live. I want to know where the opponent lives. So when you come back, start talking to me about what you don't know.
Why are things happening? If you don't know that, let's talk about it. If there's something that we don't know that we can provide technology to or we can put sensors on, let's do that.
But by narrowing down the scope and the set of unknowns, now we're living way ahead as an opponent. But if we only focused on what we know, he's living inside our decision loop.
So intel; big deal.
Here's another one for you. Security forces. If you joined the Air Force not long ago and became a security forces person you would have spent a lot of your time guarding missile silos, guarding bombers, alert fighters, guarding gates, or at least being at a gate. But after we stood up 50 expeditionary bases in the Arabian Gulf and after we've had attacks on the bases, after we have had rockets and mortar attacks on the bases, after we've had aircraft hit on arrival and departure with surface-to-air missiles and small arms fire, and after we've looked at what does it take to secure an airfield in an expeditionary sense, this security force business takes on a whole different light. This is not checking IDs at a gate. This is not walking around a perimeter, around an alert site. This is not much different than the intel empowerment of begin to think outside the fence--the fence being the expeditionary airfield. Get outside the wire with the Office of Special Investigation folks, with the OSI counter-intelligence and counter-espionage folks, and get out there and begin to think about what's a threat to this airfield, what do we have to do to defend it so we can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a true joint sense, and in a true combatant sense, so that there's no threats to this airfield that we haven't thought about.
I'll give you another vignette. 3:00 o'clock in the morning. Phone call, up to the CAOC from a wing commander deployed that says sir, our chemical and biological detection units has just detected a bio detector. This was at the time where it would have been predictable for it to happen, so I said fair enough, execute the plan that we've all practiced. We went out flash to the rest of the coalition bases, to the rest of the components--maritime, land and special ops--and said as of right now our systems are showing an attack at this location and we're proceeding as we briefed.
Interestingly enough, it was at the exact point on an installation with the exact wind conditions and the exact relative humidity and overall weather that if you wanted to attack a base with bio weapons, this is where you would have done it.
So the first, second and third sets of confirmation came back positive so we began to go down the road of it must be real, It took us about four or five hours to figure out that it was not. But along the way another one of those interesting, reinforcing lessons about you can operate under missile attacks, you can operate under bio attacks, you can operate under chemical attacks, and you can continue to generate sorties and load bombs. Not one flinch in the system from the civil engineers to the logistics folks to the security police folks to the command and control folks. That wing commander never hiccupped one bit, because we had thought about this, we have practiced this, we had rehearsed this, we knew what to do, we knew who to inform, and all of the adjacent airfields and all of the adjacent wing commanders, ships, land component commanders, all were up on the net at the same time so it's possible to do this.
So how about our people? My questions to the staff are do we have the right skills? Do we have the right mix? Do we have the right numbers? Do we have this right for a long war, a global war on terrorism? Do we have the right critiques? And again, let me highlight this because I believe it's important. Whether you're a U-2 pilot or whether you're a security forces NCO or intel's newest Airman or a linguist, do we have the right operational skill set? Do we have the right operational focus that we can then turn into a regional familiarization? With the enlisted skills, do have the right mix? Do we have the right exposure to Coalition and joint setting? Do we have the right staff experience? Do we have the right maturation process on-board to do this right?
I think we can improve. I think the Air Force can do this better. I won't speak for the others, but in my view I'm headed down the road of no-kidding capitalizing on these great people and thinking in terms of a global war that's going to go at least for a generation.
If we do this right, this spins into interrogations, this spins into interface with coalition partners, this spins into interagency activities, it spins into work with country teams, it spins into all of the things that you learn and re-learn over time from doing this business in a real fight.
The third thing I'll share with you, we're fighting a long war, a global war on terrorism for our people. Do we have the right mix? Are we taking care of them in every way? The third thing, in my view, is recapitalization and modernization.
Your Air Force has been in this fight solid for 14 years. The average age of this Air Force is 23.5 years. When I put on the uniform at Texas A&M the average age of our inventory was eight years. Now it's 23.5 years and if we get everything that's in the program of record it will increase to over 30 years.
So the trend lines are not good if average age of the inventory is the only criteria. And I don't believe the Congress will be sending over unsolicited bags of gold to the Department of Defense. I don't believe that the budgets will exponentially rise. I believe there will be other pressures on the budget to include Katrina and Rita relief, to include some of the other things that are going on. So what do we do?
Well, we don't recapitalize at a one-for-one rate. For every F-15 we don't need an F/A-22. For every F-16 we don't need an F-35. For every A-10 or F-117 or F-15E we don't need an F/A-22 or an F-35. When we look at long-range strike, when we go back to that equation of range, persistence and payload we don't need to recapitalize B-1, B-2, and B-52 one-for-one with something that looks like a new bomber. When we look at U-2s, Global Hawks are beginning to come off the lines, they're coming through OT&E (operational test and evaluation), the Global Hawk is going to prove itself to be worth its weight in gold and we can walk away from some of the older systems and we can maintain much more persistence with these unmanned systems.
How do we get at the tooth-to-tail business? Because a large percentage of our TOA (total obligating authority) is in logistics and support. Is there not a way to streamline the logistics? Is there not a way to look at lean logistics and to look at ways to perhaps reduce cost, reduce manpower, and still maintain this aging fleet while we recapitalize it?
So by making wise choices with recapitalization I come back to those three portfolios. Global strike. It takes us to recapitalizing an aging fighter force. In fact I started flying the F-15 in 1976, 1977. The airplane that had my name on it at Holloman (AFB, N.M.), which was delivered from the factory, is now in a Guard unit in Hawaii. In fact I saw it when I was out there--76120. My son flies F-15s and has his name on airplanes that I had my name on when I was a captain. These airplanes are beginning to age on us. We're beginning to have challenges with maintainability. We're beginning to have challenges with engines and flight controls.
And some of the portfolio in the strike business, whether it's the early F-16s or the early F-15s, simply needs to be replaced because the threat has gone way beyond an F-15A and perhaps even an F-15C. The early blocks of the F-16s were wonderful airplanes but we're beyond that now. We're beyond that with Block 50 and Block 52 F-15s and we're beyond that now with what the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 will do for us.
Bombers. We've built two bombers since we've built a fighter, interestingly enough. The B-1 and B-2 have been fielded since we fielded a fighter. It's time to look at long-range strike. It's time to look at that portfolio of delivered effects. It's time to look at something that looks a lot like a bomber and something that will provide access to those target sets. When you look at space as you go into the ISR world, there are so many opportunities in space, and there are so many opportunities to provide 24 hour a day, seven day a week whether it's low earth orbit or geosynchronous. And the synergies that we can get from space and air-breathing systems in the global ISR network are just limitless. When we can think about hooking unmanned vehicles in the atmosphere to spacecraft and be able to provide that imaging, whether it's infrared imaging with space radar, to be able to provide that to a combatant commander or to a national intelligence system simultaneously so at the strategic, operational and tactical level we have access to those sensors is an amazing capability.
We've been able to do this partly, but we're at a juncture now where we can combine these into a much more homogeneous synergy of delivering ISR and delivering effect.
I come back to the Global Hawk because that aircraft is going to be, when we get them in numbers, worth its weight in gold. When you can configure the aircraft for maritime, for land, for special operations capability and you can pipe the imagery down into a laptop or you can pipe the imagery down into a command center or you can bounce it back to a reachback mode and you can do that and keep the aircraft airborne days at a time, you have some capability.
And this UAV business, as it cuts across both strike and ISR, I'll tell you, I'm a big fan. Having been the wing commander that got the Predator first and having had the Chief of Staff at the time, General Fogleman, say you've got these things and I said Boss, what do you want me to do with them? He said go fly them and figure out how they work. I said I'm a little busy out here. If this is a hobby project let me know and I'll give it some good thought, but you really want me to take these things and figure out how to fly them? He said yeah, just go figure it out.
I became a big fan, and I became a big fan of these things in combat, and I became a big fan especially when you can hook infrared imaging to a Hellfire missile or to a laser-guided 500-pounder off this thing. So not only can you go out and look for something, you can ID it and you can whack it. A lot like Republican Guard divisions in sandstorms. When the JSTARS finds a moving target and the Global Hawk can be over the top of it, you can find things, you can identify them and strike them. That is an asymmetric advantage.
In fact in that case, interestingly enough, General Franks (retired Army general and former Commander, U.S. Central Command) said we knew more about the Iraqi military and its movements than the Iraqis. So for the Iraqis to believe that they had sanctuary in a sandstorm or that they believed the media or some of the people in the media that said this is a strategic halt, they were sorely mistaken, because we ramped up from 800 to 1,000 to about 1,500 sorties a day and laid on six divisions of Republican Guard where we could see them and they could not even see themselves.
So this UAV business is powerful. And I would offer just as a thought to you, there are two reasons you would want to go unmanned. Now I have been told unmanned is not a gender-mutual issue--uninhabited. But I'll tell you, whether it's unmanned or uninhabited, there's nobody in it.
So there are two reasons to go down this road. One, you believe that the human is at risk to the extent that you don't want to risk a human--which I'll share with you, by the way, we've never found a threat array we won't penetrate. So I'm not sold on the notion that the human is at risk. But the other one is that the human is the limit. In the case of the U-2, you can keep the human up for 10 or 11 or 12 hours and then you have to bring the human back because she or he is in a space suit and anything beyond that you've got to bring them back and decompress them, so the human's the limit. You can keep the Global Hawk up for 22.5 hours, 23, 24 hours. Or if you want to extend the range of this thing, as we experiment with refueling these things, you can keep it up now for two days or three days, whatever the oil limits on the engines are. Now you've got an interesting capability that is beyond the notion of just being manned or unmanned.
So in my view it is not that the threat array is so risky, because we have not found one we can't penetrate--whether it's Schweinfurt or Rabal or Bougainville or Polesti or Hanoi or Haiphong or whether it's Sarajevo or whether it's Baghdad, we'll go. This is what we'll do. But the human could be the limit.
The third portfolio which I believe is important is mobility and we're an air mobility portfolio. Think about the C-17. Not long ago there were people trying to kill the C-17 and where would we be now without it? It is worth its weight in gold. It provides so much capability to the joint team. Whether the joint team is today, this afternoon, as it is delivering goods and relief materials into Pakistan or whether it's landing in the dirt or landing on old airfields in Afghanistan supporting land component operations or whether it is providing long-range mobility and reach from Charleston (AFB, S.C.) and McGuire(AFB, N.J.) and Jackson, Miss., or all of those. The C-17 is worth its weight in gold.
And we look at our aging C-130 fleet. We have some challenge with some of the older versions, but the "H2s," the "H3s" and the "Js" have been performing very well. And I'm told by our Reserve guys that the storm missions flown this year in a very active hurricane season were flown by all "J" models.
Katrina, before it came ashore, had a 200-knot wall, eye wall. To penetrate an eye wall of a hurricane that the winds are 200 knots plus is a bit of aviating skills that I don't think most people outside a group of folks like you really understand. And to be able to do that over and over and over and over again to provide that capability to the American people or to anyone that asks for it saves lives, saves infrastructure, and is an inherently good thing. The "J" model has done a great job.
Our tankers are getting old. We've got a plan to work that. We have the analysis of alternatives that's in the building. A sufficiency review is ongoing, the independent review is ongoing. We have a program of records. We'll know more about that when we can see the AOA and when we can see what the sufficiency review and the IDA review will do, but it will take us to a place where we can begin to recapitalize
and look at some options.
I'm keeping this key enabler of everything that we do viable because that global reach, that global mobility, that global strike is all dependent on being able to cross oceans and being able to maintain that persistent advantage.
There's another piece of this global mobility thing that I'm finding more and more exciting, and that's something that we're calling a light cargo aircraft. I don't know what it looks like yet. We've partnered with the Army to talk about it, from the beginning to think about it. But if I'd had something like that in the Afghan campaign and for the Iraqi campaign, I would have felt a whole lot better because you can get in and out of smaller places, you can get in and out of runways that are 2,500 or 3,000 feet. You don't have to carry six or seven or eight pallets. Most of the missions are two pallets or less and 20 people or less. You can support things on a whole different level than we've been able to in the past, not to mention something like Katrina or Rita or something that looks a whole lot like homeland defense or homeland security--to be able to move small teams quickly. To be able to get in and out of places that perhaps the runways or landing surfaces have somehow been reduced.
In the case of Katrina we were able to pre-position as much as we could get in the path of the storm buttoned down. As soon as the storm passed we had contingency response groups on the runways to clean those off so we could operate and fly. Some of the runways were still underwater, but some of the runways you could fly off of but you only had 2,500 or 3,000 feet of landable surface. It's not that much for a C-17 with a load. It's not that much for a C-5 with a load or even a C-130H2 or "H3" or "J" with a load. But something that looks like a light cargo aircraft would have been very useful. So that's where we're thinking about that global mobility piece.
So let me reflect back just a minute with you and then I'll be interested in your comments.
We live in a joint world. We live in an interdependent world. We live in a world where there is a land component, there is a maritime component, there is a special operations component and there is an air and space component. Our key competencies and our core competencies live in this component. That's the way we fight. We don't fight as an Air Force; we don't fight as a Navy, Marine Corps or Army. We fight as a component and we fight as a member of the joint team. I believe that we are completely, totally interdependent with each other. And those that believe that that is not quite right either haven't fought lately or they are hoping something will be doing.
So I want y'all to understand where an Air Chief is coming from when I talk about interdependence. I mean that. I mean that relative to jointness and I mean that relative to fighting a long war on terrorism as a member of the joint team.
I'll also tell you out of Afghanistan and Iraq we've seen some interesting things that open doors to the future on unmanned aerial vehicles, on things like light cargo aircraft, dependency on strategic mobility, dependency on this global reach, dependency on building air bridges, dependency on being able to control airspace. Control airspace is the first job in a theater. We should be able to get control of the air and space because unless you control that airspace, other things become complicated.
As a historical tidbit, remember the last soldier killed from the air from a hostile attack was April, 1953. The Air Force has done a reasonable job in partnership with the Army to ensure that airspace is secure.
Light cargo aircraft, combat rescue helicopters, modernization of the fighter fleet, long range strike. Those are the things that I see out into the future that we can do with this joint team as enablers for current and future combatant commanders.
Let me no kidding close with a couple of other facts.
In the Afghanistan campaign, the longest bomber mission in the history of air warfare was flown--Whiteman (AFB), Mo., to targets around Kabul and back--42.5 hours by B-2s out of Missouri.
The largest humanitarian air drop in the history of combat aviation--C-17s out of the East Coast and out of Ramstein (AB, Germany) over western and northwestern Afghanistan.
The longest fighter mission in the history of combat aviation flown out of a forward deployed location--from the base to targets around Kandahar and Kabul, Afghanistan. 15.8, 16 hours. Fighter missions.
The longest air-breathing reconnaissance mission in the history of combat aviation, 22.5, 23 hours. The first Global Hawk combat mission close to 23 hours. Collected 600 targets. First mission. The airplane is not even combat ready. I begged then Chief Jumper to let me have it. He gave it to me. I quickly lost it. He gave me another one, I quickly lost it. So I've become a big fan of these things even though I've killed two of them.
So this experience that I carry and what I believe the future leads us to are those things that I've shared with you relative to fighting the global war over the long term, taking care of our people, and recapitalizing this Air Force.
So whether it's space, whether it's atmosphere, whether it's the surface, whether it's global mobility, global strike, or global ISR, those are the areas that I'm focusing on to provide forces better for this joint fight, for this long war.
Thank you very much.
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|Publication:||Air Force Speeches|
|Date:||Oct 11, 2005|
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